Tax Credit for Hiring Veterans

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Besides honesty, loyalty, and responsibility, veterans may bring you a tax cut.

By Barbara Weltman

Many employers have come to learn that veterans make excellent employees. They usually are easily trainable and possess desirable characteristics, such as honesty, loyalty, and responsibility. If these attributes were not enough to induce employers to hire veterans, the tax law offers even more. The tax law encourages employers to hire certain targeted groups of workers by offering a tax credit tied to the wages of these new employees, and certain veterans are treated as a targeted group. Here are the special rules to know when hiring so that you may take credit where credit is due.

Which veterans qualify?

As a small business owner, you qualify for the work opportunity tax credit (WOTC) if you hire a veteran who falls into any of the following categories:

  • Having a service-related disability
  • Unemployed for a specified period
  • Receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits

However, even if a veteran does not fall within any of these categories, he or she may still be a member of another targeted group. This would still allow you to take a tax credit. For example, a veteran who has been a member of a family that received TANF payments for at least 18 consecutive months is treated as a member of a targeted group for long-term family assistance recipients.

What is the tax credit amount?

The tax credit reduces your tax bill dollar-for-dollar, so each $1 of WOTC saves you $1 in taxes. The credit is based on the amount of wages paid to an eligible veteran in the first year of employment. The maximum tax credit is based on a set percentage of maximum first-year wages, which is fixed by law, and the number of hours worked. For example, for veterans, the basic percentage of first-year wages is 25 percent for those who worked at least 120 hours but fewer than 400 hours; it is 40 percent for those who worked at least 400 hours.

The maximum credit for a veteran working at least 400 hours is:

  • Service-related disability and unemployed at least 6 months in the year ending in the hiring year: $9,600 ($24,000 in wages × 40%).
  • Service-related disability and hired within 1 year of discharge or release from active duty: $4,800 ($12,000 in wages × 40%)
  • Unemployed at least 6 months: $5,600 ($14,000 in wages × 40%)
  • Unemployed at least 4 weeks: $2,400 ($6,000 in wages × 40%)
  • Receiving SNAP benefits: $2,400 ($6,000 in wages × 40%)

There is no limit on the number of eligible employees you can hire for the credit. For example, if you hire 3 veterans with service-related disabilities who are unemployed at least 6 months, your credit is $28,800 ($9,600 × 3).

The WOTC is set to run through 2019, and you can take the credit year after year as you expand the size of your staff. Thus, even if you take a tax credit for hiring a veteran in 2016, you can do so again next year.

Other rules

Being eligible for the credit isn’t enough to claim it on your return. To take the tax credit, you must submit IRS Form 8850 to your state workforce agency within 28 days of the first day of employment. Also submit ETA Form 9061, or ETA Form 9062 if the employee has already been conditionally certified as belonging to a targeted group at the same time. The purpose of these submissions is to confirm that your new employee is indeed a member of a targeted group.

The credit is claimed on IRS Form 5884, which is attached to the employer’s income tax return.

Something to think about

When hiring, keep the WOTC in the back of your mind. While it may not be a primary factor in making a hiring decision, it may just be the tipping point in favor of one applicant over another.

Source: sba.gov

Help wanted amid coronavirus pandemic: These companies are hiring

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close up of man slloking at smartphone with laptop open on desk

As the novel coronavirus continues to spread, major companies are looking to ramp up their workforces to meet the demand for critical products such as food, household essentials and medical supplies.

Some of the nation’s largest retailers are even scrapping traditional hiring methods in order to fill open positions as the virus takes a foothold in every corner of the world. This demand for more workers in some sectors comes after early estimates suggest that at least a million workers could lose their jobs in March.

Since the outbreak, the number of jobless claims has surged as many businesses are forced to close their doors

Here are some of the companies that are hiring as the world continues to fight the spread of COVID-19:

7-Eleven

The convenience store chain is looking to hire anyone in need of a second job or who need to pick up extra hours of work.

Albertsons

Albertsons is hiring to fill positions immediately. There are well over 1,000 positions listed on its career page.

Aldi’s

Batavia, Illinois-based grocery chain Aldi’s said in a statement that they’ve hired “nearly 7,500 employees and we are continuing to hire more each day.”

The company currently has nearly 5,000 openings. While most are based in retail stores, there are a handful of openings in specialized fields such as human resources, public relations, and IT.

Amazon

Amazon is seeking to fill 100,000 new full- and part-time positions across the U.S.

CVS

CVS Health is looking to immediately hire 50,000 full-time, part-time and temporary roles across the country.

Dollar General

Dollar General plans to add up to 50,000 employees by the end of April.

“As the heightened demand for household essentials offered by Dollar General stores continues across the country amid COVID-19 concerns, the Company plans to nearly double its normal hiring rate and add up to 50,000 employees by the end of April as it continues to diligently work to support customers’ needs,” the company wrote in a statement.

Dollar Tree

Dollar Tree is looking to hire 25,000 individuals to support its stores and distribution centers nationwide.

“Whether you are home unexpectedly or are just starting your career, we have a broad range of positions to fit your needs and availability,” Betty Click, Dollar Tree’s chief human resources officer, said in a statement.

The positions include full- and part-time managers at more than 15,000 locations. There are also flexible part-time shifts for cashiers and stockers. Positions in the company’s distribution centers include order fillers, equipment operators and warehouse associates, Dollar Tree said.

Domino’s

Domino’s will be hiring 10,000 employees nationwide.

“Our corporate and franchise stores want to make sure they’re not only feeding people, but also providing an opportunity to those looking for work at this time, especially those in the heavily-impacted restaurant industry,” CEO Ritch Allison said in a statement.

General Electric Healthcare

The company plans to hire additional manufacturing employees to produce more medical equipment, including ventilators, in order to meet the demand created by the coronavirus pandemic.

Instacart

Instacart announced Monday that it will hire an additional 300,000 full-service shoppers across the United States during the next 3 months to meet customer demand for online grocery delivery and pickup because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, we have more shoppers on the Instacart platform than ever before. Given the continued customer demand we expect over the coming months, we’ll be bringing on an additional 300,000 full-service shoppers to support cities nationwide,” the company said in a statement. “As more people look for immediate, flexible earnings opportunities during this time, we hope that Instacart can be an additional source of income for those looking to earn while also delivering for the communities in which they live.”

Lidl

The global discount supermarket chain is hiring up to 1,000 temporary employees across its stores and distribution centers in the U.S. for a minimum of two months.

New hires without health insurance will be eligible for medical benefits covering testing and treatment related to COVID-19 at no cost, the company announced.

“Every day, our number one priority is the health and safety of our customers and our team, and that is our primary focus during this public health emergency,” Lidl US Chairman Roman Heini said. “The new positions announced today will help us better meet the unprecedented needs of our customers. We are working hard to serve them and protect the health of our employees who are playing a critical role.”

Lowe’s

A spokesperson from Lowe’s confirmed to FOX Business that the company will be hiring 30,000 positions that will be a mix of full-time, part-time, overnight and seasonal roles for displace workers seeking short-term opportunities. The home improvement retailer is also offering special one-time bonuses of $300 for full-time workers and $150 for part-time workers.

Kroger

The Kroger family of companies is looking to add 10,000 workers in stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers nationwide, a Kroger spokesperson told FOX Business.

Candidates may apply via on the company’s website and could be placed for employment within several days of applying, the company said in an emailed statement.

Papa John’s

Papa John’s is looking to hire up to 20,000 new restaurant team members.

PepsiCo

PepsiCo will hire 6,000 new, full-time, full-benefit frontline employees throughout the United States in the coming months, the company announced.

“With COVID-19 reshaping the way we run our business and live our lives, it’s important that we acknowledge the people keeping us steady during turbulent times, notably the heroic work of the millions of doctors, nurses, and healthcare professionals around the world,” PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said in a statement. “At the same time, there is important work being done in other sectors, including our own, to help maintain the supply of foods and beverages.”

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

Related: Disabled American Veterans Virtual Career Fairs

My Journey from the Army Reserves to Starting My Dream Company

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group of business people working together on an engineering project laid out on a table

By Crystal Xie

My name is Crystal Xie. I’m the president and founder of Crystallogy Engineering, a construction management and engineering design-build company. I enlisted in the Army Reserves when I was 17 years old, still a junior in high school.

Since then, I have done a tour of combat deployment in Iraq in the very beginning of OIF, completed three degrees while working full time, worked as an aerospace engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory during Mars Science Laboratory build, and lead an R&D team at a major blue-chip company to develop patented technology, before finding my true calling in the form of starting and running my own company five years ago.

I have had more than a few detours and bumps in the road in my journey thus far; however, it is not immediately apparent that I have had the great fortune of standing on the shoulders of giants, organizations and mentors, without whom I would never be who I am today. So, it is my great honor and privilege to be able to give back to the veteran community and share some of my triumphs and struggles to help you to get to where you want to be a little faster.

I will start with what I consider the most important question before starting a business, or any career for that matter. We often are good at talking about what we do, in terms of communicating with potential clients and others in our lives. The question we negate to ask ourselves is, “why do we do what we do and how does it relate to others, to our family, clients and community at large?” I encourage you to take a moment to think about what motivates and invigorates you in your everyday life. Is it the opportunity do something you can do really well with skill and mastery? Is it the social aspect of working with others closely and build a network? Is it the ability to be close and flexible in your schedule so you could maximize your time with your family? For me, I love solving problems, helping others, and building a close-knit community that thrives over the years. So, it’s almost no surprise I became an engineer, got into consulting to help clients solve a variety of problems, and feel immensely blessed to be able to grow the company so we could help train the next generation of project managers and engineers.

How about you? Do you enjoy the technical aspects of delivering products/projects (working in the company)? Or do you enjoy solving systemic problems, building relationships and teams (working on the company)?

If entrepreneurship is your true calling as well, I’d like to share a few things that worked effectively in launching and growing my business. One of the barriers of starting your own business without the banners of a large organization is credibility. I’m a certified project management professional and a licensed professional engineer, and certifications not only help in drumming up business but also in guaranteeing quality in project delivery, which reduces client costs and improves our margin over time. As a matter of fact, investing in training and certification of our people works so well, now all of our project managers at Crystallogy are professional engineers and project management professionals today.

Another challenge start-up business owners often face is the burnout from the lack of a community of peers. It’s tremendously helpful and personally satisfying to join professional organizations in my field and small business owner training groups. Crystallogy Engineering does a lot of work in the alternative energy construction space; consequently, I joined the technical committee of NFPA 2, the Hydrogen Technologies Code, and served as the alternate chair for the 2020 edition, which is adopted to the California Fire Code.

I also recommend the V2V program to learn from other veteran business owners and receive coaching from Nelson Leadership. I am especially impressed with the

Crystal Xie
Certified Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (DVBE) and Small Business (SB) Crystal Xie, President and Founder of Crystallogy Engineering, with over 14 years of experience in market intelligence, business strategy, mechanical system design and project management.
generosity of fellow veteran business owners in selflessly sharing valuable business information and opportunities with me. The longer I’m in business the more I realize there are a lot of commonalities in business across industries.

As veterans, a lot of us are finishing our education later on in life, often with the pressures of supporting a family while working full time. You already know you could use the GI Bill for your undergrad, but have you considered saving your GI Bill eligibility for graduate school instead? Have you thought of going to a state school instead of private schools? I have been very blessed to have received grants and scholarships for my B.S in Aerospace engineering. For my master’s in mechanical engineering, since I was working in the area of structural engineering, I was once again fortunate to be sponsored by JPL. It is not until when I started my MBA program while working for UTC did I start struggling to pay a hefty business school tuition. Fortunately, a fellow veteran in my UCLA Anderson program told me that reservists who have served active duty deployments are also entitled to the 911 GI Bill, even when you didn’t pay into the program with your monthly reservist pay.

For those of you who are considering a career in STEM, I have enjoyed many aspects of engineering that I would like to share a few insights for you to consider if engineering the path for you as well. Early on, I knew that I had an aptitude for science and math, but I really did not know what engineering work would entail and whether I would be able to find life-long enjoyment of practicing hands-on. I was fortunate to land an engineering internship at JPL shortly after I came back from Iraq before the end of my junior year at UCLA. I had the pleasure of being mentored by senior engineers and experienced technicians, and it is through working hands-on in labs and machine shops that I discover the joy of designing, manufacturing, and testing mechanical systems I can visualize and touch! And it is the same joy that ultimately led me to build this company to design and build even bigger structures and systems!

Tips on how to contract with the government

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Yolanda Clarke MBA, PMP, CEO/founder of Powder River Industries

By Yolanda Clarke

Doing business with the government is still business. Everything any other start-up has to do, you will have to do as well. You’ll have additional requirements to satisfy, regardless of whether you are a woman, minority, veteran or otherwise.

The benefit of being a veteran is some preference to compete for contracts with the Veterans Administration and a small percentage of work other agencies may set aside for veteran-only competition.

 

What Unique Requirements Do You Need Complete as A Veteran for That Advantage?
Complete the steps at U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Small Business Utilization Vendor Information Page https://www.vip.vetbiz.va.gov/ Apply for verification as a veteran owned or service-disabled veteran-owned business. Call (866)584-2344 or (202)303-3260 or email VIP@VA.GOV if you have questions. There is no cost to be verified.

What is the value of doing this for you and your success as a veteran competing in government contracting?
You must complete this verification to compete for veteran set-aside contracts with the Veterans Administration. In other government agencies, some contracts are set aside to only be competed by service-disabled or veteran-owned businesses. If you have not been third party verified, your competition could protest a contract award to your company causing delays in operations and contract funding (read “your business cash flow”). Also, if all things are equal between your proposal and another company’s, being third-party verified makes the contracting officers’ jobs easier. Who would you choose?

Resources to Help You Get Started
One of the best places to get started in government contracting is your nearest Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC). They will point you in the right direction on the basics for government contracting. Another great resource is your local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). One of my other favorite resources is a volunteer organization called Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE). All of these organizations provide free or low-cost support to small businesses. The exact types of offices near you may vary from region to region, but these will get you started as you gain confidence and traction to ask more questions leading to more valuable resources.

You may find that the support you can receive at each office varies. That’s okay. You’re still learning something. If you find you know more than the counselor assigned to you—fantastic! You’re ahead of where you need to be. If you find yourself in friction with someone at the office, it’s a good opportunity to pause and ask yourself, “why?” Frequently, the friction comes from not hearing what you want to, but that’s entrepreneur life. In business, obstacles and competition always appear to take you off your path. Your job as a leader is to identify those and find ways to successfully navigate your business around them. This starts first in managing yourself and figuring out what you will do with all the knowledge you gain from these great resources.

Finally, I would encourage you to find a non-equity requiring startup incubator to join. Entrepreneur life is lonely. As a service member, you rarely did anything on your own and accomplished impossible things working on teams. Your entrepreneur journey can be the same! You can find incubators and accelerators on university campuses and by searching local business resources. Many will be regional, however, there are a few national programs emerging, such as Patriot Boot Camp powered by Techstars and Bunker Labs.

Being a veteran will only get you so far. The resources and motivation you will get from working with other motivated entrepreneurs will help you through the hard times. Remember, there’s always another card in the deck. Being a part of your community can help you find your next move.

About the Author
Yolanda Clarke (pictured above) is the founder/CEO of Powder River Industries. She has served both in active duty and reserves for 24 years, most recently in the U.S. Army Reserves. Powder River Industries provides cyber and data science services to various U.S. government agencies. Her firm has received the following awards: Certificate of Special Congressional recognition from James Panetta, Award of Excellence from Monterey County Business Council, Monterey County Board of Supervisors Certificate of Recognition, California Legislative Assembly Certificate of Recognition for 2017 Small Business of the Year Honoree by the Monterey County Business Council, State of California Senate Certificate of Recognition for being honored as a recipient of the Monterey County Business Council Small Business of the Year.

U.S. Department of Labor Recognizes Apprenticeship Program for Disabled Veterans

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businessman shaking hands with veteran with U.S. flag behind them

The U.S. Department of Labor formally recognized a new National Standards of Apprenticeship program for the Center for Business Acceleration (CBA) at a signing ceremony on February 12, 2020.

The apprenticeship includes certificate programs accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB), making it the first ANAB-accredited program for disabled veterans. The apprenticeships will be offered nationwide through employers participating in the U.S. AbilityOne Commission’s AbilityOne Program, which provides employment opportunities to more than 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities, including approximately 3,000 veterans.

The apprenticeship includes certificate programs accredited by ANAB to ANSI/ASTM E2659 for business management, quality management, risk management, and a new program for occupational health and safety management. The recognition opens up a new chapter for disabled U.S. veterans who have decided to pursue self-employment careers.

The apprenticeship program facilitates employment of persons with significant disabilities or blindness, including disabled veterans, and supports career and entrepreneur skills in cooperation with opportunities programs supported by U.S. AbilityOne Commission, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. Department of Labor, Community Rehabilitation Centers, and other employment options.

“AbilityOne’s veteran employment initiative will become the model for providing the skills bridge through apprenticeships for veterans with severe disabilities across the nation,” said CBA’s President Phillip Selleh during the signing ceremony.

“ANAB is proud to be part of this historic milestone to support veteran careers and their valuable contributions to the U.S. workforce,” said ANAB executive director Lane Hallenbeck. ANAB executive director Lane Hallenbeck and Dr. Turan Ayvaz, ANAB director of certificate accreditation programs, attended the signing ceremony along with representatives of the Department of Labor, Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Department of Veterans Affairs, U.S. AbilityOne Commission, and CBA.

About ANAB
The ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB) is the largest multi-disciplinary ISO/IEC 17011 accreditation body in North America, with comprehensive signatory status across the multilateral recognition arrangements of the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) and International Accreditation Forum (IAF). The ANAB accreditation portfolio includes management systems certification bodies, calibration and testing labs, product certification bodies, personnel credentialing organizations, forensic test and calibration service providers, inspection bodies, police crime units, greenhouse gas validation and verification bodies, reference material producers, and proficiency test providers.

ANAB is a wholly owned subsidiary of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), a private, not-for-profit organization dedicated to supporting the U.S. voluntary standards and conformity assessment system and strengthening its impact, both domestically and internationally.

About ANSI
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and the American quality of life by promoting, facilitating, and safeguarding the integrity of the voluntary standardization and conformity assessment system. Its membership is comprised of businesses, professional societies and trade associations, standards developers, government agencies, and consumer and labor organizations.

The Institute represents and serves the diverse interests of more than 270,000 companies and organizations and 30 million professionals worldwide. ANSI is the official U.S. representative to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and, via the U.S. National Committee, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). For more information, visit ansi.org.

About the Center for Business Acceleration
The Center for Business Acceleration (CBA) is a non-profit institution of higher learning that offers multiple curriculum program options that are accredited by the ANSI National Accreditation Board. The CBA network offers business professionals, entrepreneurs, and employees curricula designed for working professionals. CBA’s VA Accelerator is designed to assist veterans with business administration, management, and entrepreneurship.

Keep Your Eye on These 15 Jobs

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man dressed in a suit with several other professionals in the background

You might be thinking, “How can I find a private sector career when my work history is so different?” The good news is, though, there are plenty of great jobs for veterans out there.

The truth is, many employers are eager to hire veterans. The discipline, leadership and work ethic that you learn in the military translhttps://www.usveteransmagazine.com/wp-admin/post-new.php#edit_timestampate well into the private sector, and the diversity of experience you bring with you can help lead to new and innovative ideas and solutions.

So what jobs most benefit from these skills?

While your options are endless, we’ve put together a list of great jobs for veterans.

All of these positions benefit from the skills you learn in the military and have relatively low barriers to entry—no need to have years of directly related work experience.

Check them out below, and apply today!

PROJECT COORDINATOR

Average base pay: $51,468/yr

Project coordinators oversee projects, making sure each necessary component is delivered on time and within budget. To excel in this position, you’ll need superb organizational and communication skills.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/project-coordinator-jobs-SRCH_KO0,19.htm

TRUCK DRIVER

Average base pay: $43,464/yr

Don’t let fears of automation dissuade you—truck drivers are in high demand right now and will likely continue to be in the foreseeable future. Truck drivers carry cargo from point A to point B and require a commercial driving license. It may also be a good idea to attend truck driving school if you don’t have experience driving large vehicles.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/truck-driver-jobs-SRCH_KO0,12.htm

SALES REPRESENTATIVE

Average base pay: $39,300/yr

Sales representatives reach out and field inquiries from prospective customers, whether through email, phone or in-person. Sales representatives should have excellent people and communication skills and understand their clients’ needs.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/sales-representative-jobs-SRCH_KO0,20.htm

RECRUITER

Average base pay: $51,349/yr

In many ways, recruiters’ jobs are very similar to sales representatives—but rather than selling a product or service to a client, they’re selling a candidate on a job and company. Recruiters both proactively seek out candidates for open jobs and field inquiries from interested candidates. Great people and organizational skills are a must.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/recruiter-jobs-SRCH_KO0,9.htm

TECHNICIAN

Average base pay: $36,826/yr

If you have previous experience repairing or maintaining equipment, you might be interested in a career as a technician. Technicians work on all sorts of equipment and machinery, from cars to computers to aircraft and more. Depending on which field you enter, you may need certification, but programs are often significantly less time-intensive and costly than college degrees.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/technician-jobs-SRCH_KO0,10.htm

OPERATIONS COORDINATOR

Average base pay: $48,397/yr

Operations coordinator is a role where you ensure that a business runs smoothly and efficiently. To do this, you’ll perform various support tasks for the team you’re assigned to. Candidates should be detail-oriented, organized and excellent at time management.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/operations-coordinator-jobs-SRCH_KO0,22.htm

Store Manager

Average base pay: $50,688/yr

An excellent choice for anyone with leadership experience, store managers are tasked with leading the day-to-day functions of a store. This might include scheduling, inventory, employee training and coaching, marketing and reporting.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/store-manager-jobs-SRCH_KO0,13.htm

Plumber

Average base pay: $50,000/yr

Another strong option for those with maintenance and repair experience, plumbers install and fix water-supplying pipes and drains. Plumbers usually need proper licensing, which can be obtained through a combination of training, experience and sometimes an exam.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/plumber-jobs-SRCH_KO0,7.htm

Customer Support Representative

Average base pay: $33,512/yr

Customer support representatives’ primary responsibility is to keep customers satisfied. They do this by fielding questions and complaints, whether through phone, email, in person or on social media. Customer support representatives should have great people skills and an eagerness to become experts in their company’s products or services.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/customer-support-representative-jobs-SRCH_KO0,31.htm

Electrician

Average base pay: $53,794/yr

As their title suggests, electricians install and repair electrical systems. They may work in residential homes, larger buildings, outdoor power lines or other specialties. Electricians typically need a license, which often requires formal training, an apprenticeship and an exam.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/electrician-jobs-SRCH_KO0,11.htm

Logistics Coordinator

Average base pay: $46,898/yr

Those with military logistics training could excel in a private sector career in logistics. Logistics coordinators typically are responsible for managing activities in a company’s supply chain and may be responsible for coordinating and tracking shipments from departure to destination, communicating with suppliers and preparing accurate documents of record.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/logistics-coordinator-jobs-SRCH_KO0,21.htm

Warehouse Associate

Average base pay: $24,000/yr

Prefer to stay on your feet and active? You might want to consider becoming a warehouse associate. Warehouse Associates spend their time moving packages between different destinations in a warehouse and may operate equipment like forklifts. While the pay is on the lower end, a hot labor market and the rising popularity of eCommerce is driving wages up.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/warehouse-associate-jobs-SRCH_KO0,19.htm

DATA ANALYST

Average base pay: $67,377/yr

If you’ve got a knack for numbers, you might want to become a data analyst. Data analysts gather and analyze data to identify trends and derive business insights. You may need to teach yourself a few additional skills—SQL, R and Python are common computing languages used—but there’s no shortage of online tutorials and courses to help you out.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/data-analyst-jobs-SRCH_KO0,12.htm

REAL ESTATE AGENT

Average base pay: $48,883/yr

Real estate agent is a common choice for career changers of all different backgrounds. Real estate agents connect prospective buyers or renters with available properties. They should have great interpersonal, sales and marketing skills, and must pass an exam to obtain a license.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/real-estate-agent-jobs-SRCH_KO0,17.htm

IT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Average base pay: $51,564/yr

Good with computers? Think about becoming an IT support specialist, whose primary duty is to ensure that an organization’s employees have a smooth technological experience. You may be required to assist with helpdesk tickets, set up equipment and train employees on new technologies. Formal training and certifications are sometimes required but can often be completed online or through a vocational school.

See open jobs here: glassdoor.com/Job/it-support-specialist-jobs-SRCH_KO0,21.htm

Source: Glassdoor

Navy Veteran Builds Successful Second Career as a Franchise Business Owner

LinkedIn
Ronald Finch veteran business owner

By Rhonda Sanderson

Ron Finch doesn’t need Veterans Day to remind him he’s in select company. A career Naval officer who served 22 years, Finch is a franchise owner with Enviro-Master Services, North America’s leading health and safety-focused commercial cleaning service that has doubled in size since 2012. A favorite among veterans, Enviro-Master offers a 25 percent discount to former military members. Conversely, veterans are a favorite among franchisors, and with good reason.

“I would tell any veteran to keep their nose to the grindstone, because it’s going to be a lot of work. However, the reward is great; the ability to make a difference in others’ lives, to make a difference in the community where you live and financial independence and autonomy for yourself.” Finch, a Mobile resident who purchased an existing Enviro-Master franchise in July 2018, serves commercial businesses throughout the Florida Panhandle and the Gulf Coast regions of Alabama and Mississippi.

Enviro-Master is focused on making a difference in the health of communities around the world with 78 franchise locations currently servicing thousands of retail and restaurant locations weekly. Enviro-Master provides a comprehensive disease prevention, odor control and sterilization program for commercial businesses. In 2018 Enviro-Master International Franchise was ranked for the fifth year in a row by Inc. 5000 as one of America’s Fastest Growing Private Companies, and in 2019 for the seventh year in a row by Entrepreneur Franchise 500.

Having spent more than two decades as a Naval Aviator, Finch said he was fortunate to hold many leadership positions in his former career. Among them, returning from his last deployment, Finch became the Maintenance Officer of a failing maintenance department at his squadron, responsible for 11 helicopters and approximately 200 personnel.

“I had to work to instill a culture of excellence and integrity, and that’s a philosophy I carried with me when I bought my existing franchise,” Finch said of Enviro-Master, which provides unique processes and products that disinfect and sterilize surfaces that serve as breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses, such as the flu, Hepatitis, Norovirus and MRSA. Enviro-Master’s commercial restroom hygiene service, which is applied with EPA-registered, non-toxic products, ensures 99.99 percent of germs are killed. “Our brand had low recognition in my territory,” said Finch, whose majority of customers are restaurants and convenience stores. “It is very exciting to be out on the sales road telling businesses what we do. I’m adding customers because most thought they only had one or two big-name, high-priced choices until we met.”

After retiring from the Navy, Finch considered several options, but they involved relocating, something Finch wanted to avoid for his family. A franchise coach introduced him to Enviro-Master, a company that is a recognized leader in the $61 billion commercial cleaning industry, which is expected to grow by an additional two percent in 2019 alone, according to experts.

Finch offers these three lessons he learned in the military that he translated to his new business:

  • Integrity is paramount. In the military, shortcutting a procedure can result in loss of life. In this business, doing things the right way every time keeps the customers happy and aids in retention.
  • These next two fall under leadership. Every military leader knows leading by example is vital to creating a high-performing culture. With my business, I have to hold myself to the highest standard if I am to demand excellence from my team and expect them to execute.
  • Also, under the broader leadership category is taking care of your people. Those who are working hard have to know their boss (leader) cares for them. If the boss is setting the example and caring for the employees, they feel valued and respected from the top and are much more willing to perform at a high level. Overall, these lessons result in accomplishing the mission of customer retention, business growth, and gaining more business from customer base (Retain, Grow, Gain).

Currently targeting growth in major markets throughout North America, Enviro-Master’s continued growth is fueled by five basic fundamentals: 1) Large, identifiable markets; 2) Lack of competition; 3) Recession resistance; 4) Recurring revenue model; and 5) Service that can’t be displaced by technology. “I considered a few different franchises at first, but Enviro-Master was my favorite choice based on their business model,” Finch said. “After my discovery weekend with Enviro-Master leadership and staff, I knew it was the right choice.”

Rhonda Sanderson is founder and president of Sanderson PR, a Chicago-based marketing and public relations firm specializing in franchising since 1986.

Photo Credit: John Amato

How to Navigate the Post-Military Job Search

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U.S. veteran job searching on phone

Jeff McMillan, Chief Data & Analytics Officer at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management

Over my years of advising veterans transitioning from military service to civilian workplaces, I’ve found that for many, the biggest obstacle
has nothing to do with their qualifications or abilities–it’s not knowing how to navigate the process of finding a job.

Knowing the basic steps and preparing for each one can help you put your best foot forward each time you submit an application or walk into an interview.

1. Write an impeccable resume

Your resume should communicate two kinds of information: 1) The type of role you are looking for and 2) How your unique experience and skills make you a strong candidate. When writing a resume, keep the following tips in mind:

● State the type of role you are looking for and a summary of your skills upfront. These first lines may be all a hiring manager reads, so make them concise and impactful.
● Highlight your experience and education, including specific skills and accomplishments that are relevant to the job for which you are applying.
● Avoid military jargon – Most civilians will not understand military acronyms and abbreviations, or even the names of specific units.
● Proofread thoroughly for spelling or grammatical errors.

2. Network early and often

Networking is the act of establishing mutually beneficial professional relationships. Like many veterans, I found the idea of networking to be strange and foreign at first. Military relationships are largely pre-determined according to the chain of command. But outside the military, building your professional network is up to you. Beyond finding a job, networking is about forging new relationships with people who can help you learn and grow. Meeting people from a wide variety of professional backgrounds helps you chart your own course, and each conversation will improve your ability to deliver a strong, compelling message about your skills and experience.

To get started, reach out to everyone you know who works in a field that interests you, especially other veterans–most enjoy speaking with transitioning vets. In recent years, a whole new generation of veterans’ groups has emerged and is modernizing engagement and support through community activism, training programs, and social engagement. I also recommend attending as many veteran-focused career fairs as you can. Numerous organizations as well as some universities and companies host events focused on educating veterans all around the U.S.

Social media is also a great way to connect with people you know (or want to know). Put together a clear and concise profile (refer to your resume) and don’t be afraid to “advertise” what you are looking for.

3. Interview with confidence and humility

Interviews are probably the most important part of the job search, and also an area where most military personnel have significant room for improvement (at first). Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate your first few interviews:

● Do your homework in advance – Familiarize yourself with the job description and read up on the company’s products and services, leadership, and any recent news or announcements.
● Communicate clearly and concisely why you are right for the role – Refer back to the original work you did around identifying your skills and interests.
● Practice – Ask members of your network to critique your answers to common interview questions, and go on as many interviews as possible for practice.
● Dress for the job – If you are unsure what to wear to an interview, ask what the normal dress code for the office is. When in doubt, err on the side of more professional than casual.
● Don’t use “sir” or “ma’am” – This can come off as overly formal or even intimidating in a corporate setting.
● Be confident and humble – Most people will admire you for your service, but there is also a perception that ex-military men and women can be overly intense and aggressive. Make sure to display humility and willingness to work with others.
● Send a thank-you note – Within 24 hours of the interview, send every person you spoke with a note thanking them for their time and reiterating your interest in the position.
● Don’t get discouraged – Keep in mind that interviewers are also talking with other candidates, and someone else may be more qualified for the role. Focus on treating each interview as a learning experience, whether or not you receive an offer.

Once you understand the process, job hunting essentially becomes a probability exercise: the more jobs you apply for, the more interviews you will get. And the more interviews you do, the more likely you are to be offered a job. Be persistent in expanding your network, identifying new opportunities, and practicing your job-seeking skills, and job offers will follow.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management or its affiliates. All opinions are subject to change without notice.

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is a business of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC.

© 2019 Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC.

The Refrigerating Engineers & Technicians Association and Smithfield Foods Launch Training Program for Veterans Transitioning to Civilian Work

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Veteran Transitioned to Civilian Workforce as a refrigeration engineer

The Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) and Smithfield Foods, Inc. are pleased to announce RedWhiteandCool, an initiative focused on recruiting, training and hiring transitioning military veterans into the growing and highly sustainable natural refrigeration industry as refrigeration technicians.

Smithfield Foods, the founding sponsor of the program, is dedicated to supporting veterans through employment and philanthropic initiatives like RedWhiteandCool.

“There is a shortage of skilled labor in our country and the commercial and natural refrigeration industry is not exempt from this employment deficit,” said Lois Stirewalt of RETA. “There are currently more than 40,000 jobs open nationally for refrigeration technicians. At the same time, many veterans remain unemployed once they transition to civilian live. RedWhiteandCool is taking action to address this very issue.”

The RedWhiteandCool program will work hand in hand with the Department of Defense and transitioning military personnel, family members and veterans to recruit them into the commercial refrigeration industry. The partnership, administered by RETA’s non-profit arm RETA-Training Institute (RETA-TI) in conjunction with the Department of Defense SkillBridge program, is the organization’s newest and highly innovative Career Skills Program (CSP).

“At Smithfield Foods, supporting the men and women who have served our country is core to who we are as an American company,” said Keira Lombardo, executive vice president of corporate affairs and compliance for Smithfield Foods and president of the Smithfield Foundation. “We owe a debt of gratitude to our veterans; this training and transition program is just one way we demonstrate our appreciation. Partnering with RETA was a natural fit to help connect these veterans with skilled trade jobs at our company and in our industry.”

Transitioning military veterans met yesterday with program staff during an information session to learn more about the training program and refrigeration industry. The free four-week course will begin on Mon., Mar. 23, 2020 at Joint Base Langely-Eustis in Virginia. Participants will receive certification testing at the end of the program and have the opportunity to interview for a career with Smithfield Foods as part of the company’s veteran hiring initiative.

About the Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association
The Refrigerating Engineers and Technicians Association (RETA) is the most recognized organization in the country dedicated to the professional development of industrial refrigeration operators and technicians. Founded in 1910, RETA is a non-profit membership and certification organization currently based in Albany, Oregon. The RETA-Training Institute is the 501 c 3 arm dedicated to addressing workforce development issues across the industry.

Ammonia and CO2 features many sustainable benefits. They are naturally occurring green substances with no potential for ozone depletion, and no potential for direct global warming impact. It requires less primary energy to produce a given refrigeration effect than other common refrigerants, has a low replacement cost, and its self-alarming odor helps to detect leaks and minimize emissions.

For more information please visit: www.RETA.com

About Smithfield Foods, Inc.
Headquartered in Smithfield, Va. since 1936, Smithfield Foods, Inc. is an American food company with agricultural roots and a global reach. Our 40,000 U.S. employees are dedicated to producing “Good food. Responsibly.®” and have made us one of the world’s leading vertically integrated protein companies. We have pioneered sustainability standards for more than two decades, including many industry firsts, such as our ambitious commitment to cut our carbon impact by 25 percent by 2025. We believe in the power of protein to end food insecurity and have donated hundreds of millions of food servings to our neighbors in need. Smithfield boasts a portfolio of high-quality iconic brands, such as Smithfield®, Eckrich®, and Nathan’s Famous®, among many others. For more information, visit www.smithfieldfoods.com, and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Retired US Navy Commander and Harvard MBA Begins New Career with Floor Coverings International

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Kris Piotrowski stands outside her work vehicle

Kris Piotrowski’s background couldn’t have positioned her any better for her “second career.” The fact that she’s following in the legacy of her father is only icing on the cake.

The 48-year-old Piotrowski, a retired U.S. Navy Commander who holds a Harvard MBA and also had a successful stint working in Corporate America, launched operations as a franchise owner with Floor Coverings International, visiting customers’ homes in a Mobile Flooring Showroom stocked with thousands of flooring samples from top manufacturers. Floor Coverings International Mesa, AZ serves clients throughout Mesa, Apache Junction, Gold Canyon, Queen Creek, Phoenix, Tempe, Glendale, Laveen, Litchfield Park, Tolleson, Avondale and Goodyear.

“I do think that my military experience, coupled with my leadership and business training from Corporate America, is a definite asset to my business,” said Piotrowski, a Scottsdale resident who spent four years after her military career as a Facilities and Logistics expert. “Additionally, I have more than 10 years of facilities/flooring experience and am organized and driven.”

Piotrowski was further inspired to pursue small-business ownership when she recalled her father’s trade when she was a youngster. “I have always wanted to own my own business,” she said. “I grew up with a father who was a cobbler and supported his family by making and repairing shoes. When I received my MBA, I realized I wanted to be an entrepreneur and it was an inspiring moment in my career.”

In Floor Coverings International, Piotrowski found a company that has tripled in size since 2005 by putting a laser focus on consumer buying habits and expressed desires, its impressive operating model, growth ability, marketing, advertising and merchandising. Floor Coverings International further separates itself from the competition through its customer experience, made up of several simple and integrated steps that exceed customers’ expectations.

“I was inspired to select Floor Coverings International over other franchisors based on its culture, franchisee support, initial investment, and of course, being able to set my own schedule,” Piotrowski said. “Floor Coverings International was head and shoulders above the rest.”

ABOUT FLOOR COVERINGS INTERNATIONAL

Floor Coverings International is the #1 Mobile Flooring Franchise in North America. Utilizing a unique in-home experience, the mobile showroom comes directly to the customer’s door with more than 3,000 flooring choices. Floor Coverings International has 150-plus locations throughout the U.S. and Canada with plenty of opportunity for continued expansion in 2020.

For franchise information, please visit flooring-franchise.com

And to find your closest location, please visit floorcoveringsinternational.com.

What kind of questions should you ask at the end of a job interview?

LinkedIn
man sitting at a desk being interviewed by a man and womanfor a job

It’s a scenario many of us have found ourselves in. You’re nearing the end of a job interview and finally, you can begin to relax a little. Despite the nerves, you’ve come across well and answered all the questions confidently – and with a little bit of luck, you may just be offered the position.

Before you can run out of the room, however, the interviewer wants to know if you have any questions for them.

It might be tempting to say no, so you can leave as quickly as possible – but asking questions can be of huge benefit when it comes to interviewing for a job.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that interviews should always be considered a two-way street. Yes, the recruiter is interested in finding out if your skills and abilities are suited to the role in question. But a job interview is also a chance for you to work out if this is the right job for you – and if you are going to fit in well at the company.

“As candidates, we can often get caught up in the whole process, particularly as we try to remember the answers we’ve prepared but it’s equally as important to take time towards the end of the interview to ask your own questions,” says Row Davies, HR business manager at the recruitment firm Macildowie.

While you’re preparing for your interview and imagining the kind of questions you might be asked, it’s also useful to think about any queries you might have too. However, don’t ask an interviewer anything you can find out easily yourself, either online or on the company’s social media channels.

“It’s crucial for you to assess whether the company is the right fit for you, as just like any relationship, both need to benefit and feel comfortable with the partnership,” Davies says.

“Not only does the process allow you to show your enthusiasm for the company, asking questions also gives you the opportunity to check your goals and values are aligned with the business. You don’t want to be a year or more down the line and find that the company is heading in a direction that you don’t want to or perhaps can’t follow.”

So what kind of questions should you be asking as an interview candidate?

Davies believes there are three key questions that should be on every job applicant’s list.

“The first, is asking the interviewer ‘is there anything regarding my experience you would like me to expand upon?’. Not only does this show that you are engaged, it also provides you with the opportunity to further emphasise your strengths and how you believe these will be an asset to the company’s objectives,” she says.

The second is about learning and development – and specifically, whether the company is actively investing in their employees. After all, you want to know that you’re going to move forward in a job.

“Ask, ‘how do you support the professional development of your employees?’. Answers to this question will give you an insight into how the business will support you as you progress up the career ladder,” Davies says.

“It also shows the interviewer you have aspirations and a drive to succeed in the organization.”

Finally, it’s a good idea to find out more about the company’s environment and whether they look after their employees.

“I would encourage any of my candidates to ask the interviewer, ‘what do you like most about working for the company?’ This is great for building a personal connection with the interviewer, giving them the opportunity to share their personal views and the passion they have for the company,” Davies says.

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